“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:14-17). In his sermon last Sunday, Pastor Finney reminded us of the power and importance of holiness. Just look around today and you will discover that holiness is a strange and archaic idea, seldom spoken of and greatly misunderstood. For most people, seeking a holy God and living a holy life never crosses their radar. From studying the Scriptures and pondering the meaning of holiness, I have come to understand holiness as both a gift and a pursuit. As a gift, I receive holiness from God based on the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. He came to die for sinners…like me. Holiness is not something I somehow achieved and presented before God. Holiness is something provided for me, which I simply accepted by faith from the Lord in humble gratitude. However, that’s not the end of holiness. God’s gift of forgiveness and cleansing requires a lifelong pursuit. The Apostle Peter tells believers to continue moving forward, and not to turn back to “passions of former ignorance.” Those who study the Bible understand the pursuit of holiness as the “process of sanctification.” In other words, we are made holy to become holy. Think of an orphan living wild on the streets who is suddenly adopted into a loving family. The child becomes an immediate member of the family and then learns to become like the family. Our adoption into the family of God gives us immediate access into the presence of our loving and holy Heavenly Father. Our Father then motivates us with, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” In all of our imperfection and sinful tendencies, we should not be discouraged in this pursuit of holiness. The same Lord who saved us also empowers us to live holy. Through the Holy Spirit we receive counsel and power in making everyday decisions that please Him. He awakens within us a desire for purity in our hearts…so we are careful about what we read, what we watch, what we speak, and how we think. Holiness is not a matter of “looking good” in the eyes of people but of cultivating a close, honest walk with God. His presence and words influence us in the deepest way possible so that we continue to become just like Jesus. By the way, holiness of life is not a bore as the world wants you to believe. Holiness is the only way to find joy in this corrupt and confusing world! Just look to Jesus.
Pastor Mark Boucher